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Event Honours Jazz, Blues Musicians

Event Honours Jazz, Blues Musicians
Tom and Annie Mawi performing at the Sunset Rock Rhythm & Blues at the GPH on July 28,2018.Photo:Simione Haravanua.
July 29
11:51 2018

The aim of the Sunset Rock Rhythm and Blues concert was to honour jazz and blues musicians in Fiji.

This was the comment by event organiser Kathleen Waqa at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva yesterday.

This one-off event was to pay tribute to jazz musicians who have been performing and paved the way for live music since the 1960s.

These were musicians such as the late Tui Ravai, the late Paul Stevens, the late Vili Tuilaucala and the late Wise Vatuwaqa.

“We barely get to see them perform on stage and this is a chance we get to see them perform,” said Ms Waqa.

This concert is a build-up to the Jazz and Blues Festival, which is due to take place in October. The concert was a means for veteran jazz and blues musicians to get exposure to a wider audience.

Ms Waqa explained that organising a concert on this scale was challenging.

“We faced challenges trying to pull in financial sponsors for help,” she said.

“There were a few music festivals before this so most organisations were tied up with those events.

“This jazz and blues genre is different from other festivals, which features recent music and other genres.

“Most other music events you will see young talent and with the jazz and blues event, especially with the festival in October, we hope to pull in more talent to explore the jazz and blues genre.”

Ms Waqa, who is the daughter of jazz guitarist Sam Waqa, told the Fiji Sun she would also be performing.

“I grew up with jazz all around me so it was natural for me to go into that,” she said of her musical journey.

“That’s why I took on this initiative to organize not just this event but basically all the jazz and blues event to pay tribute to my father and my other musical influences such as Tom Mawi.”

Ms Waqa said there were not many female jazz and blues singers and she encouraged women to take part in this profession.

“We need more support and more interest from the public, especially women,” she added.

In addition, jazz singer Annie Mawi was also a performer at the Sunset Rock Rhythm and Blues concert.

The lead vocalist for Tom Mawi Band said that jazz music was well known in Fiji and it was evident by the number of performances that took place in hotels.

“Fiji has an audience for jazz music and this is evident in most hotels who enjoy this music,” Ms Mawi said.

Close to 200 people attended the concert and efforts are being made to cater for a bigger audience for the festival in October.

Some big names who performed included guitarists Tom Mawi and Sam Waqa, Vude Queen Laisa Vulakoro, Blues man Robert Verma, Ken Janson, Nesbitt Hazelman and One2Eight.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback:  sheenam.chandra@fijisun.com.fj

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